Eighties advertising is widely regarded as the height of comedy.Between the outfits and the big hair, most advertising from the eighties is freaking hilarious. Combined with the indisputable hilarity of dated technology, these ads are comedic gold. Here’s a few technology ads from the 80s that will have you singing Michael Jackson’s “Bad.”
CompuServe , an early internet service, apparently believed that the most appropriate way to advertise the internet was to evoke a vision of the future. This principle isn’t necessarily strange, but the future they envisioned was a little odd. Virtual bridge, dressing to match one’s interior design, and ceramic snails are where it’s at in CompuServe’s circa 1980 image of the high-tech future. The computer that looks more like an old-fashioned heart monitor to a viewer circa 2014.
I even forgot that email actually stands for electronic mail since when’s the last time someone said, “Let me send you an electronic mail with that information.” The very concept of this advertisement is hilarious in hindsight, but what really makes it is the photograph. The shag carpet, the dated decorations, and the strict adherence to a sickening color scheme all pale in comparison to the illustration of the “electronic mail” whizzing through the air and scaring the poor, unsuspecting businessman half to death. “What the heck is Electronic Mail?” is not a caption that seems to capture his panic and confusion.
John Cleese, British comedic genius, takes a slightly less outrageous approach to an advertisement for Compaq – a portable computer that, while it would have seemed clunky and unwieldy to us, seems to have been able to prevent plenty of technological accidents.
Cassette tapes can be found in the back of your parent’s closet or in a hipster’s backpack. But there was a time where having to flip your cassette tape to the other side was as normal as hitting next on your iPod. To Ampex, cassettes were evidently small portals to other worlds, through which miniature BeeGees could emerge on command. To anyone else, Ampex’s vision of their product is just straight up creepy.
Before cell phones and texting while walking, there were car phones. The car phone was the start of everyone always feeling a need to be in touch with one another at all times whether you’re at home or driving. This was basically the start of distracted driving, like seriously that guys not even looking at the road, c’mon.